Meat and Livestock Australia, in cooperation with the Queensland Beef Industry Institute, the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, CSIRO Tropical Agriculture, and the Tropical Savannas CRC, commissioned a project to assess the market requirements for grazing land management (GLM) education within the beef production sector in northern Australia. This project follows on from, and complements, the recent assessment of market requirements for beef cattle nutrition education. Some overlap between specifications for the GLM and nutrition programs was expected.
The project utilised the CD-MAP Quality Function Deployment (QFD) technique, which is a recognised and highly respected methodology for not only determining market requirements and expectations, but also for designing appropriate products that will deliver superior value to customers, ie. Users. The North Australia Program manages Meat and Livestock Australia's investment in research, development, education and training in the northern half of the country. There has been widespread criticism of the effectiveness of much of this effort with a general acceptance that adoption of new techniques, processes and products among beef producers has been disappointing. This criticism applies not only to NAP and projects within it, but also to RD & E in the agricultural sector in general.
With respect to grazing land management in northern Australia, there has been a considerable amount of research done in the past, although consistent emphasis on grazing land ecology (rather than on pasture development) has come only in the last 5-10 years. In any case, there is no clear mechanism for the findings of this R&D to be incorporated into extension or other education/training programs. In particular, there has been little synthesis of current understanding of grazing land ecology and there exists no technical process for facilitating the application of this understanding to the on- property implementation of grazing land management. NAP, in partnership with R&D organisations, has undertaken to improve the relevance and effectiveness of the R&D investment we are making on behalf of our producer clients. To achieve this, a logical first step is to ascertain the benefit or value that those clients might expect to derive from products and services which we fund.